HomeSportsThe Yankees deserved this loss to the Astros

The Yankees deserved this loss to the Astros


What will Aaron Judge do now? And how much will he be paid?

What will Aaron Judge do now? And how much will he be paid?
Photo: Getty Images

“New York Yankees” and “inferiority complex” are two combinations of words that have probably never met in a sentence for over 100 years or so. This is the New York Yankees, the absolute biggest symbol of American exceptionalism, even when it’s a sport that no other place plays. They’re the Yankees, the most glamorous, the most assured, the most famous team we have. And while they and their fans’ inclination to act like the only people in the room annoys the piss out of just about everyone else, you had to admit for the longest time that it was deserved. There really isn’t much more of a throughline in American sports, maybe even American culture, than the Yankees throughout their entire existence.

Except now. The Yankees haven’t acted like the Yankees, haven’t acted like the big bad on the block, and now they keep getting their ass kicked when it matters most.

Maybe it’s not as bad as watching their historical punching bag become the more successful organization in this century. They have lost an ALCS, an ALDS, and an AL Wildcard to the Red Sox, though it’s been spread out. They also trail in the championships count 4-1. If that wasn’t enough for the Yankees to realize they’ve lost their place, then the past few years of running into an orange and blue painted wall should be.

The Yankees are on the ass-end of yet another beating from the Astros for a host of reasons. Bad and timid management would be a start. Sure, the Yanks have a big payroll, except it’s all in the wrong places. They took on salaries other people didn’t want. Were they surprised that a 37-year-old red-assed Josh Donaldson would run out of gas somewhere in June? That Giancarlo Stanton would get hurt and be handcuffed by the superior pitching in the playoffs?

These are the Yankees, they don’t paper over their cracks. Why was an overmatched rookie starting at shortstop? Why was he replacing a slappy, glove-only candidate who definitely wasn’t named Carlos Correa or Cory Seager?

Why was the rotation after Gerrit Cole buttressed by Nestor Cortes, throwing 70 more innings than he ever had, which of course led to physical problems? Jameson Taillon, a Pirates cast off? What was this bench?

The Yankees basically boiled down to what Aaron Judge, and Stanton when healthy, could do and not a whole lot else. Speaking of Judge, when was the last time a Yankee went on a “Fuck You” World Tour against them because they wouldn’t pay him? These are the Yankees, with their modern, now-fake cathedral to themselves of a ballpark and their own network, and their offer to Judge would have paid him less than FranciscoLindor or Nolan Arenado or Carlos Correa or Corey Seager. Now he’ll make more than all of them, and he’ll probably do it somewhere else. Since when do the Yankees try to get away with trying to get a discount? These are the Yankees, and discounts are supposed to be the territory of the plebes. The Bombers cut whatever check is necessary.

That inferiority complex spreads beyond the club. The bleacher creatures haven’t stopped moaning about the Astros and 2017, and yet they’ve gotten kicked to the curb by them twice since. Also…THE YANKEES GOT CAUGHT CHEATING TOO. What they’re really complaining about is that the Astros were just better at it than they were. And either they still are, or it didn’t matter, and either way it means the Yankees are deficient.

When the Yanks hit the skids in the middle of the season, Yankees observers couldn’t wait to scream how they were always a mirage and would never be able to run with the Astros. And now that they’ve proven they can’t run with the Astros, they’re still screaming. If the Yankees were never good enough, shouldn’t those around the team be nodding their heads in satisfaction now? It shouldn’t have been a surprise. Neither they nor the team should get it both ways.

It’s just so strange, and really an admittance of defeat, to see the Yankees act like the little guy. To hear them complain about the Astros for five years. To bemoan the injustice of it all, when they are supposed to be the injustice in the world. To watch them come in second or worse in bidding for free agents. To have basically half a roster. To not have a plan to counter any of that.

Even while winning 99 games in the toughest division, the Yankees kept acting and playing like they had no chance to actually win the pennant. And then they didn’t. The Yankees don’t cower. They don’t accede. They don’t project defeat.

But this version did, and it’s exactly what they got.


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